Thursday, December 22, 2011

Back to Tatting....for a while....

With all the intention to keep up with tatting, my tatting 'purse' travelled with me to places. But, for reasons, at the end of the day, doing some tatting was the last thing on my mind, apart from the fact that I could hardly keep my eyes open by the time I went to bed.!! Having been to the Tatters' Guild of Australia, NSW Branch, monthly meeting and Christmas party last Saturday 17th December, and have become the Guild newsletter editor reminded me that I hadn't done any tatting since April....I have planned to 'play' with the long arm quilting machine during the end of the year break. Unfortunately, I injured my right knee at the start of the holiday. Not being able to move around much or (machine) sew up a quilt top for quilting, I have picked my tatting shuttles again and finished this tatted edge doily (and of course, it's in shades of blue). I made a similar doily once before, in different colours, for my dear friend, Marijke. The variegated cotton thread and hemmed cotton doily were from Handy Hands Tatting.... I live in a relatively big house but I can't seem to easily find a spot to place my handwork, where I can, now and then, look at and admire it. Putting one doily on top of the other gives a different perspective to the pieces. Until I can find 'good' places for both of them, they are staying together for now.!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

I did keep myself busy!!

I haven't been that very busy with my work but a few 'major events' have kept me occupied, enough to prevent me from spending time to update my blog.!! Nonetheless, I have managed to finish a few small projects. They keep me grounded and contented. Those events have now passed, and I hope to be able to regularly write more about my handwork to share with everyone who is interested. Here are some photos and brief descriptions of the finished projects.

 These are the latest items that I have made. They are needle cases for my dear friends. Those ones I previously sent to them got lost in the mail, sadly.

 This is a teapot stand I have made for my son's 'Aunties Carlette and Colly' after we visited them at their new home. The pieces sewn were from when I was trying out the cutting technique that I read in a quilting magazine.

St Patrick rose is my favourite. The colour is, of course, yellow. I have got the actual plant in a pot at the front of my house. Fourteen of the roses (from a local florist) greeted me at the front door last week. My dear husband did remember our anniversary. :-) I have got the embroidery pattern, designed by Jennifer Reynolds, from a Handmade magazine borrowed from Hornsby Shire Council library. I changed the colours to my favourite shades of yellow and modified how it's finished.

 I thought to myself that I have to make these Hawaiian leaf cushion covers, designed by Lisa Cox of A Spoonful of Sugar, when I saw the pattern in a Handmade magazine that I borrowed from the local library. It looks different and exotic to me (Mind you, my husband thought it was an alien hand !!). Again, I didn't follow all the instructions.!! I changed the colours to my favourite blue and modified the finish.

 Noelene, one of the lovely ladies in my local sewing group, has given the patterned fabric to me after I told her that I really like its purple flowers with the green leaves and blue background. I cut it up to make a double Irish chain quilt (not yet finished) and used the scraps to make this table runner while trying out the Wiggly wheels pattern (again).

 After talking to Heidi, another lovely lady in the local sewing group, about Dresden Plates, I thought, perhaps, I could sew up just a few plates and make a wall hanging, and how could I not make another Sunflower one. :-)

 My neighbour, Ruth, once remarked to me 'Em, you 'seem' to like Sunflower'. I asked her (with a smile) 'how could you guess?'.

 I'm fond of Tulips and all Dutch things for no particular reason, and my beloved friend is a lovely Dutch lady named 'Marijke'. I bought the fabric while visiting Amsterdam in July this year with Marijke but didn't buy enough for a quilt. Hence, another table runner was made, teamed with scraps in shades of blue, of course. :-)

 This is the back of the table runner. I have decided to keep the Dutch theme and used up all the Dutch Houses fabric, designed by my (another) Dutch friend, Linda Robertus, that I have got left and the Tulip fat quarter given to me by Marijke.
We have got only one coffee table in the house. But here is another table runner made from scraps I recently bought from Craft Depot. If I appear to be 'mad' about making table runners...I like to try out techniques that I have read in craft magazines and quilting books. Working on a small project like table runner to try out the techniques is achievable within a reasonable timeframe (together with everything else I do). Also, it does keep me happy with using my two hands to do something I love and enjoy (very much).

Thursday, December 8, 2011

My Gammill Statler

...It has been about 3 months since the start and after a few 'major events', finally, the installation of my Gammill Statler was completed last week (1st December 2011). It is now working beautifully. Having been working in a world class Biomechanics Laboratory while studying at the University of Sydney, I'm enjoying the well-design mechanics of the Gammill Optimum. The computerised part of the machine, Statler Stitcher, is sensible and user-friendly. The possibility seems endless... I'm a relatively new member of Statler Sisters Yahoo Group. It is a wonderful group of Statler users/owners with a wealth of knowledge and experience. It's comforting for me to realise that help and support are within reach (via email) and that although isolated, I'm not alone. I'm now looking forward to spending time practicing and getting 'acquainted' with my Gammill Statler over the break during the festive seasons AND I can hardly wait.!!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Quilting - Seriously

It has been a long wait and a drawn out process with my running of the household, busy job and the trips overseas. After putting in an order in January this year (2011), finally, my Gammill Statler has arrived and will be installed this Wednesday 24th August. I'm very much looking forward to working with the machine and making a lot of quilts. It's the biggest purchase for my hobby, so far. Trying to push a big lump of 3 layers through the small opening of my sewing machine while quilting will soon be something of the past, I hope. The computerised functions of a Gammill Statler has caught my attention, at first. With my educational background and my passion for patchwork and quilting, I can easily identify myself with the machine. It just feels 'right' for me. But I'm yet to find out whether the decision to acquire it is the 'right' one... Somehow, I will ensure that it is and I'm determined...

Wiggly Wheels

I was intrigued about how to make 'wiggly wheels' and, so have decided to have a go while having a bit of idle time during my stay in France this year (May-July 2011). My friend, Celine (she is Belgian who lives in France), took me to a 'tissue' (fabric) shop and I bought a few pieces of fabrics to get started. Without access to a sewing machine, I did all the piecing with hand sewing. I could only sew during the day becuase the lighting wasn't good at night time. I managed to finish ONE block.!! When I got home, it took me a little while to figure out what I wanted to do with the ONE block. One of the cushions in my home office needed a new cover and so, it was the purpose for making use of the block.

Maureen's needle case

Maureen is one of the ladies in the local sewing group near home that I have recently joined. She has always got something little that looks special in her sewing basket. A couple of weeks ago, before we finished up at lunch time, I turned around and saw her cute needle case. After a brief admiration, she kindly lent it to me, I came home and went a little crazy with my scraps and making 6 of the needle cases that afternoon. I have kept one of the cases (with yellow button) for myself and given the rest away.

Practicing the blanket stitch

I would like to feel comfortable working with the blanket stitch on my sewing machine. I have got an applique pattern of a bunch of Tulips that I think would be good for practicing the stitching. On a cold rainy day, while everyone was out watching a movie, I have made this applique on the background fabric from Linda Robertus's 'Dutch Houses' Range, and mounted it on a frame. I'm very happy with the outcome - and I love Tulips. :-) It has been a good exercise. I have gained the confidence and I'm now working on a quilt top with rounded shape appliques comfortably using the blanket stitch on my sewing machine.

Knitting and Crochet Projects

...Work is always busy and home is always busy... and I also like to keep myself busy, but it's not always possible for me to spend time in my sewing room when I'm not working or running the household. Knitting and crochet fill the gap nicely and it's a good way for me to make use of the wool that I have got, among several other craft materials. I, sometimes, choose to knit or crochet on the train to and from work instead of tatting when I'm not reading or working while on the train.!! In the past few months, I have made a crochet baby blanket for Mia, my friend's, Annica, new born baby girl, and couple more Domino knitted pot stands, so far. I'm knitting a poncho for myself at the moment but I don't expect to finish it until next winter...

On the cross stitch front...

My friends, Marita and Marijke, are keen cross-stitchers (although Marijke has recently converted to become a keen hand quilter!!).  They have made beautiful pieces that I always admire. Last December (2010), I went shopping in Valkenburg (The Netherlands) with Marijke and bought two cross stitch kits of my favourtie flowers; Sunflower and Tulips. I determined to finish them for my birthday this year (May 2011), and stitching them in between my other sewing projects, I did. I was pleased with myself. :-) ... During my stay in France, I have decided to work on and finish off some cross stitch kits that I started a few years ago but didn't quite get around to finish them. I'm now a proud owner of a 'special' car keyring. Fuchsia always reminds me of my wonderful trip to the south of Ireland. Also, together with a tatted letter H, I have made a wall hanging for my son, Harrison, from two of the finished cross stitch pieces. I still have more cross stitch kits to work on, enough to last me my life time, I think.!! I find the stitiching relaxing and, now and then, it's a nice break from the sewing machine to be sitting quietly in my rocking chair in the morning sun while I work on a kit.

More on the 'bags'...

Although I haven't updated my blog for quite some time, I have been keeping very busy working on my craft projects while I was in France, and back here in my sewing room at home (in Sydney, Australia). Lately, I seem to enjoy making bags.!! I find that it's a good way of making use of different kinds of fabircs, including the left over fabrics from when I made dresses for myself and friends (I no longer make clothes, just mending them these days), and tea towels that I collected from places that I have been when travelling.  Here are some of the bags that I have made... They are for my own use and for friends who appreciate the craftwork.

At the Show...

I was spending most of my time in France from the end of May. This week is the fourth week since I got back home (in Sydney, Australia). I, therefore, missed the entire Sydney Quilt Show when my quilt was on display. Trish, one of the ladies at my local sewing group, kindly took a couple of photos of the quilt and sent them to me, and here they are...

Friday, April 29, 2011

Em's Green and Gold Bargello Quilt

I did get the quilt finished.!! But it has taken me a while to find the time to take a few photos on a nice sunny day and upload them. I have entered it to the Sydney Quilt Show and am waiting to hear whether or not it will be accepted... I took a class with Michel Higgins at Sydney Sewing Centre, Hornsby NSW, in February last year (2010) to learn how to make a bargello quilt. Sunflower yellow is my favourite colour. So, I chose the fabric with little bright yellow flowers and green leaves print for the middle row first, then, other colours of fabrics to 'mix and match' for the rest of the quilt top and the backing. The strips sizes and cutting were Michel's measurement. I designed the border, the size and the finish (of the quilt). I quilted the quilt using my beloved Bernina 440QE. It wasn't that easy to try to manoeuvre the quilt through the small space but it did come out the other end and I got the whole quilt quilted nicely (to me, anyway).!! It certainly has been a very good learning process for me and, more importantly, keeping me grounded during this very busy time at work. I will see how it goes with the competition or if it ever will....AND....yes, the quilt has been accepted. The news has just arrived this afternoon (30/04/2011), just in time as my birthday present tomorrow....AND yes, I'm a 'May' flower.... :-)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Em's nifty 'sewing' bag

The day before I left for Seattle, WA, I kept thinking that I wasn't ready to go to GHME 2011 Conference because then, I was still waiting for the results from DISMOD analysis before I could put together slides for the meeting after the conference. And waiting for DISMOD to process the data, sometimes, it seemed to take forever... Staying cool while waiting, I decided to retreat to my sewing room and made this nifty sewing bag from scraps (left over fabrics from quilt backing) with my own little touch by adding the orange star shape buttons to it. I have got the pattern from Handmade Vol 28 No 11. I finished the project the night before I left (for Seattle). It ended up being a multipurpose bag. It was my toiletry bag for the trip, my tatting tools bag for last Sunday, 3rd April, at the Castle Hill Show, and for now, I'm using it to keep bits and pieces of my English paper piecing project. It is, indeed, a very 'nifty bag' and I love it. :-) [I did finish the slide presentation of DISMOD results at 2am the morning I had the meeting...just in time...].

Doily for Marijke

I'm practicing 'being practical'.!!... Last Sunday, 3rd April, I volunteered to be a demonstrator for tatting at the Castle Hill Show. I thought to myself '...Right, I will get the doily that I have promised to make for a vase on Marijke's dinning table finished'. While working on the piece, I was also using it as an example to demonstrate tatting. To be sitting down tatting all day long, I couldn't not finish it.!! So, here is the finished doily for my dear friend, Marijke's vase. it's now packed away with other things that I will take with me on the trip to Europe next month.

...Here is the outcome...and I'm smiling...

Life seems to be rushing me along....Trying to get away on time, remembering to take tablets for the persistive headache and all the tatting tools I needed, and of course,  forgetting about the daylight saving, I made it to the Castle Hill Show an hour early last Sunday, 3rd April. It took me a while to work out the fact after thinking about when I left home (9am) and got to the Show (8.50am), and I was glad to realise that I wasn't mad.!! I was at the Show as a tatting demonstrator for the day and was quite busy all day. During the day, I was asked to help with taking photos of the tatted pieces for the NSW Tatters' Guild newsletter... There was a rush of mixed feelings when I saw my name next to the pieces with the prizes. I couldn't say that I wasn't pleased with the outcome. :-)